Today is June 14th, 2017. I'm currently sitting on a covered patio overlooking a rainforest at Los Lagos Resort in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Why am I here? This is the question that plagues the philosopher's mind. I've decided that my purpose in life is to travel and experience as many beautiful destinations before my time on this Earth comes to an end. Hopefully that won't be for many years and I'm an old man lying next to my wife in bed, but the fact of the matter is, no one knows when our ultimate fate will arrive, like the Raven rapping outside on the door. After traveling Costa Rica on assignment, shooting tours for the past month, it's almost time to leave this beautiful country. My business partner has activities planned until July 15th, so you might ask, why am I leaving before my contract is over? Is it because I'm anxious to get back to Austin and see all my friends again? Not particularly. Do I have important business obligations back home? Not really, although I do have big plans for a new app startup and need to find a developer to build a prototype so I can pitch it to investors.
The reason why I'm leaving early is because I recently lost my Mavic Pro drone during a risky flight through dense cloud forest in Monteverde while shooting a tour for Sky Walk Adventures. Without the drone, there's no point in continuing our tours. Allow me to explain. I launched my precious drone "Lucy" from a platform in a narrow opening of trees to capture video footage of Lake Arenal in the distance. After flying around for a few minutes, I hit the Return-To-Home button and expected the drone to return safely, but after multiple failed attempts, it didn't come back as expected. In fact, I didn't hear or see it anywhere in the visible line of sight. Time running out, I was forced to make an emergency landing on a flat patch of dirt between a clearing of trees. I was very lucky to find this area in such a short period of time since the drone started to go down automatically. Afterward, I immediately pull up the coordinates in Find My Drone and walk frantically down the nature trail, past a beautiful waterfall that I barely notice because I'm so stressed out about losing my prized possession. After a half hour, we're on top of the drone but it's nowhere to be found, most likely because it's up above somewhere. Disappointed, I continue walking ahead of Alex in an effort to reach the exit. I immediately begin forming a plan to find someone to help me search for the drone. Also, my friend and business partner is still not back after nearly an hour, so I start to worry about his well-being. I explain the situation to a few helpful tour guides that know the area well, and they immediately start trying to figure out where the drone landed.
Allow me to take a moment right here to express my delight at how incredibly amicable everyone is in Costa Rica. I love the people here so much! Even though I'm not conversant in Spanish. This country has one of the highest levels of happiness in the world regardless of the relatively low economic prosperity. This is further evidence that money can't buy happiness. Appreciate what you have in this present money and enjoy life to the fullest extent possible! So anyway, long story short, the "search and rescue" team does everything in their power to find my robotic device until a torrential downpour quite literally rains on our parade. At this point it's a lost cause anyway since the drone would be water damaged beyond repair. There's a saying, "Success is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it". Aside from the statistics, I couldn't agree more! Will you throw up your hands in a fit of emotion or continue looking for other solutions? To try and fail is always a better option than to never try at all.
As a photographer, it's often difficult to remain in the moment while simultaneously capturing it. There's so much beauty everywhere, and technology usually distracts from the experience of being in a living breathing body. It's no wonder we aren't called "human-doings" since it would be more accurate. Side note: I highly recommend reading Wherever You Go, There You Are for profound insights on making the most out of this journey called life. In the Western world, we're so consumed with focusing on what we don't have; not enough money, not enough women, not enough notoriety, etc, that we often lose sight of what matters most in life. To appreciate what you DO have. Being fully present. Right here, right now. Above all, I'm so grateful to have gone on these incredible adventures in lands of paradise! I've created a series of tour videos that will live on for decades and consider this achievement to be part of leaving an enduring legacy! Now it's a matter of getting the content in front of a larger audience. That's just marketing. The owner of CostaRica.com is already in contact with the official Tourism Board. The rest will follow. So, what will I do after leaving on June 21st? After receiving the funds graciously donated by my father to buy a new DJI Spark drone, I've decided to use the money to continue my travels in Central America, doing what I love most in life. Travel. It's far more important to acquire new experiences than material possessions that never last for long. You will remember your experiences for a lifetime! Especially if you write them down. ;) Wish me luck on the next adventure through Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and Mexico...
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I leave you with this incredible video of the most beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica! Nauyaca Falls.